Maple Leaf Festival back in person this year; plus, catch Cinema a Go Go at Liberty Hall and the farmers’ market in its final month

photo by: Sarah Baker

A banner marks the entrance to the Maple Leaf Festival on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Baldwin City.

We’ve all become accustomed to the “virtual events” of the past 20 months, but as Douglas County’s COVID numbers drop into the green zone, some traditional local happenings are beginning the transition back to in-person venues.

One of these is in Baldwin City, which celebrates its 64th annual Maple Leaf Festival this weekend. In 2020, the event moved to the internet, with online vendors and even a virtual parade. This year, the festival makes a return to downtown Baldwin City, and “everything is back except the carnival,” according to organizer Donna Curran. Watch for many new craft vendors and food booths as well as some old favorites (“Turkey legs are back!” says Curran, along with brats, pulled pork, “walking tacos,” barbecue, caramel apples and other treats). The country music tent, last seen in 2017, makes its return on Saturday (1-5 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.). In place of the carnival, a bounce house, giant slide and bouncy obstacle course will be set up at Eighth and High streets, along with carnival games.

And what about the trees that give the festival its name? Curran says the leaves are a little slow this year, but some local maples are beginning to turn. Autumn changes happen quickly, so be prepared to take pictures.

The Maple Leaf Festival takes place in downtown Baldwin City on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Satellite parking will be available for $10 at the local schools, and a free shuttle service will be provided. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday. Parade organizers welcome any health care employees and first responders residing in the Baldwin City school district to serve as grand marshals this year. If interested, please report to the starting point (Second and High streets) at 10:15 a.m.

Cinema a Go Go

Cinema a Go Go returns to Liberty Hall Friday.

In Lawrence, Halloween makes an early appearance with Cinema a Go Go Friday night at Liberty Hall. It’s the first in-person screening in at least 18 months for the popular film series, and fans might scream with laughter as well as terror during “House on Haunted Hill” (1959) and a rare episode of TV’s “Way Out” (1961). Host Darrell Brogdon says this will be the only in-person Cinema a Go Go this year, but virtual screenings will be announced later for November and December. Kansas Public Radio’s Retro Cocktail Hour, now broadcast on over 100 stations in the U.S. and abroad, has gained far-flung fans for the gimmicky movies and real-time fan commentary. “We’ve had quite an outcry from the persons who come to the virtual screenings,” especially from far-away participants, Brogdon says. He hopes to alternate between in-person and virtual screenings in the future.

Cinema a Go Go will be at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St., at 7 p.m. Friday. Please note that Liberty Hall requires proof of full vaccination for all live events, as well as masks for anyone moving about the theater. Please review the full protocol, including restrictions for children under 12, at libertyhall.net.

Farmers’ Market still going

photo by: Elvyn Jones

Vendor Jill Elmers, left, of the Moon on the Meadow booth, prepares flowers for Cassie Parker at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market’s season-opening day on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

The Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market will continue to welcome early risers on Saturday mornings through Nov. 20. Visitors can enjoy fresh produce, baked goods, local crafts, and hot food and drinks at 824 New Hampshire St. See www.lawrencefarmersmarket.org for current COVID safety recommendations. The market is open from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

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